Mrs. Merz Mr.
Sanchelli Vice President Birmingham
Cohen, Township Attorney
Magnotti, Township Clerk
Mrs. Magnotti said, ?Let the record
show that Mayor Felter will not be present this evening, however, Administrator
Leach is present.
President Yocum asked that everyone rise for the Pledge of Allegiance.
President Yocum said, ?This
Council Workshop meeting for December 14, 2005, commencing at 7:30 p.m. has
been properly noticed in accordance with the Open Public Meetings Act by notice
to the official newspapers of the Township on December 8, 2005.?
Library?s 2006 Goals and Objectives (180-A)
Director, Seth Stephens, stated that he is present on behalf of the Library
Board of Trustees, to present the Goals and Objectives for 2006. Support material was given to the
Council. Stephens stated that they have
taken the time to identify how the Library can create value for the
community. This will be accomplished by
providing services with an excellent staff, by making sure the materials and
programs are convenient and easy to use, by ensuring that the building has
reliable and dependable technology while being clean, comfortable and
inviting. If the services are provided
in a way that is pleasing to the public, they will come and use the
library. The goals for 2006 include the
creation of a summer branch at Camp Jefferson to serve the summer campers. Stephens explained that the summer branch
would be entirely convertible and removed at the end of the summer. Another goal for 2006 is the placement of
remote book returns at the Township schools.
This will remove the necessity for an extra trip to the library. Stephens stated that the consultant reported
back to them that one of the areas that they should focus on is the area of
communication. Many residents like what
the library does but they wish they knew more about programs and services. As a result, on a quarterly basis, the
library will be doing a mailing to every library card holder of the newsletter,
Violet?s Porch. Stephens stated that
they believe the Township Library can play a vital support role with the School
Libraries. A great deal can be done to
supplement the research materials that are available through the schools by
encouraging the school librarians to use the materials they provide. The materials available to the students
increase greatly when they realize that the facilities of the Public Library
are available through the School Library.
To accomplish this, training will be given to the School
Librarians. Stephens reported that they
plan to increase the communication effort by developing partnerships with
community organizations to promote the library?s services. The Trustees have made a commitment to
assist the Jefferson Arts Committee with the Summer Gazebo Concerts by
sponsoring two performances this summer.
The last objective that Stephens explained involved ensuring that
patrons receive the books they want in a timely fashion when they visit the
library. Merz commented that the Goals
and Objectives along with Stephens? presentation were excellent. Yocum asked if there are any major projects
for the upcoming year? Stephens stated
that the front stairs have to be resurfaced and they believe they will be able
to handle that expense out of the operating budget. The one anticipated capital expense may be a vehicle to pickup
and do some of the deliveries. Right
now the person that does this uses their own vehicle and is compensated through
her salary. A van may have to be leased
or purchased to do daily pickups at Pathmark, Briggs School and another
location in Lake Hopatcong. During the
summer, daily trips will be made to Camp Jefferson. Yocum asked if the library building is in good repair and
Stephens stated that it is in good condition.
Stephens said in the Spring they will be looking to hire an interior
planner to propose changes to make the library easier to use. To increase the use of the books, shelving
will be changed and rearranged. Yocum
suggested that Stephens speak with the Administration to see if there is a
vehicle in the Township pool that can be utilized for the beginning of the
program. Merz stated that she was in
Borders today and is it possible to bring the coffee-house atmosphere to the
library. Stephens reported that this
has been discussed among the Trustees and staff. Other libraries that have tried this have brought in private
vendors and it was not profitable. In
their discussions, they came to the decision that they could provide that type
of atmosphere without the coffee.
Stephens stated that they still see themselves with a different value
and mission from a bookstore. Yocum
asked if there were any other questions.
Yocum asked Stephens to thank the Library Board on behalf of the Council
for preparing the Goals and Objectives presentation because it provides
valuable insight and understanding during the budget process. Stephens stated that he would like to return
next Fall to report where they stand with their plans.
Change of Use Procedures
told the Council that the Change of Use Procedures are not in final Ordinance
form yet. In simple terms, he explained
that when they have a retail business that is substantially changing its
operation to another business, an application would have to be made for a
Zoning Compliance Permit. The Zoning
Officer would review the application to make sure the business is allowed in
the zone and parking and signage requirements are met. The Zoning Officer will then refer the
application to the Fire Marshall and the Health Department and if he deems
necessary, the Construction Code Official for review and recommendation. If he feels it may need a site plan, then
the application will go to the Planning Board.
At their next meeting, the Planning Board professional would make a
determination if the site plan approval is necessary. If they determine a variance is needed, it will be referred to
the Board of Adjustment. The Board of Adjustment would make a determination if
the variance is needed at their next regular meeting. The plan is to not hold tenancy up. Leach stated that a paragraph has to be added to the Ordinance
concerning the fee. Other towns are
charging a $25 fee. Sanchelli asked
about the process when the Zoning Official determines that a site plan may be
needed. Leach stated that the applicant
would be referred to the Planning Board and their Completeness Committee. The decision about whether a site plan is
needed would be made there. Cohen
stated that the applicant would not need a fee for this, there would only be a
fee if an application is made to amend the plan. Leach explained that he feels this promotes business better than
sending every application to the Planning Board. Merz stated that a scenario can occur where the Zoning Officer is
not sure if an application needs a site plan and a Planning Board meeting has
already occurred, then the applicant would have to wait 30 days to see the
Planning Board. Leach stated that this
procedure is better than having an applicant pull permits and then find out he
cannot do the work or take over the location.
Yocum stated that the advantages of moving in this direction outweigh
the bad. The most significant issues
are parking and septic. Cohen explained
that in a strip mall, if a business moves in that requires more parking such as
a pediatrician?s office, while the business may meet the zoning requirements
and may be a permitted use, there is a problem because they will use a lot more
parking. Cohen stated that he feels
this is a good procedure but parking requirements should be examined for
various uses. For example, Mount Olive
has higher parking requirements for specific businesses. The other problem is that some strip malls
and businesses will be grandfathered because they met the previous requirement
reported that all four towns on Lake Hopatcong passed the same docking pier
ordinance. The State Department of
Community Affairs has made a determination that building inspectors cannot
issue building permits or inspect the docks and piers because there is nothing
in the building code about how they have to be constructed. Leach stated that they discussed taking the
dock and pier ordinance and putting in the same nominal fee to expand a dock or
pier. A zoning permit would have to be
obtained. If it was the expansion of a
commercial pier, then a site plan would be needed and if it was a new
commercial pier, site plans would have to be submitted to the Township Engineer
for approval and inspection. Presently,
you do not need a permit to expand or build a dock. Leach stated that Building Departments are not allowed to issue
the permits. Merz asked if this would also
take into consideration the water walls?
Leach answered that the State Park Superintendent issues permits for
those. Cohen said they can be called a
dock permit. Yocum asked if the Council
is in agreement to have the Administration work with Cohen on an Ordinance for
the January work session. Cohen said
this will also be sent to the Planning Board even though it will not be a
Zoning ordinance. The Ordinance would
go in a special chapter on commercial occupancy of existing structures. Yocum asked that this matter be placed on
the work session in January.
NJ DEP Model
Stormwater Management Ordinance Amendments Chapter 146 ? Animals and Chapter
313 ? Littering; Handbills
Cohen reported that he received
documentation from Elam regarding pet waste, littering and the Stormwater
Management Plan. Cohen suggested
putting this matter on the agenda in January.
Sanchelli stated that many of the requirements that the State has for
stormwater management are already in place.
Merz stated that the Planning Board reviewed the Ordinance last evening
and will be giving their approval.
Magnotti said that Elam explained that there are quite a few amendments
that have to be made to the town?s existing Ordinances prior to March. This matter will be put on the Agenda for
Cohen stated that he spoke to Kienz
concerning this matter. The suggestion
was made that the checklist be amended.
A determination must be obtained before application is made for a development
permit. Yocum stated that this came up
as a result of a meeting with the Chairman of the Board of Adjustment. Many homeowners were unclear and the Board
of Adjustment was unclear exactly what restriction existed on certain
properties. Cohen stated that if a
homeowner has an existing single family home they are, for the most part,
exempt from anything having to do with the Highlands. Yocum stated that the recommendation from the Chairman was for a
letter to be attached to the application bulletpointing some of the Highlands
points. If, indeed, the majority of
homeowners are exempt, there may be certain circumstances where they may not
be. The purpose is to give the
homeowners the information upfront so they can come before the board knowing all
the facts. Cohen stated that the first
thing a homeowner needs to determine is if they are in the preserved area or
the planning area and this can be done right here in the Municipal Building. Cohen said he will prepare a letter if that
is what the Council wants. It was
determined that the letter can simply notify the applicant that they should
determine whether or not they are in the Highlands planning or preservation
area and they can make that determination at the Municipal Building prior to
filing their application. Cohen stated
that he will prepare a draft for the Council?s review at the January work
session. Yocum asked Cohen to run the
draft by Kienz prior to that meeting.
stated that two months ago a family came before the Planning Board with
property located in the preservation area.
They have a lot adjacent to their property and would like to build a
home for one of their children. The
Planning Board did not know how to act on this application because they were
unsure if this met the criteria for an exemption. They were sent to the Highlands Council for a determination. Merz asked Cohen if the town can be sure
that the determination can be made.
Merz gave another example. A
property owner came in for the reval with an empty piece of property adjacent
to theirs. The reval company told them
that even though they are in the preservation area and under an acre, they
could put a house on that property.
There is mixed information and they should be sure that these
determinations can be made easily.
Cohen said the letter will state that it is not legal advice and only a
Yocum advised that the next item up
for discussion is kennels and the determination of whether or not a property
will be inspected by the Health Department.
Also up for discussion are breeders who are running a business, usually
in a residential zone, and whether they should be subject to a Health
Department inspection. Yocum said this
would state that if you have more than a certain number of animals, an
inspection would be required by the Health Department. Currently there is no restriction on the
number of animals in a household.
Magnotti stated that the Health Department has supplied two memorandums
from 1992 and 1989 and at those times they were asking for inspections on
locations with more than 5 dogs.
DeGennaro hopes that the Mayor and Council can help with situations that
come through their office. Cohen asked
the Council if they would like to consider a restriction on the number of
animals with a grandfathering clause; or would they like to state that if there
are 5 or more, a health inspection is required once a year. Yocum stated that the second option is his
recommendation. The Health Department
would like the ability to go in and inspect.
Yocum said they are not looking to restrict the animals so much as
control the environment they are living in.
Magnotti clarified that the Health Department did not specify dogs and
only said pets. Presently the Health
Department can go into a home if there is a complaint or the SPCA can be called
if there is an abusive situation. Cohen
advised that they must clarify what the inspection criteria will be because it
will be difficult to hold a pet owner to the same standards as a kennel. Yocum stated that there is a set of rules
and regulations called Kennel Regulations for shelters and kennels and they
include: isolation areas for dogs and
cats, sink facilities, etc. The best
solution may be to get guidelines from the Health Department to see what they
foresee as reasonable guidelines for pet owners. Leach commented that the Animal Control Officer?s Association may
be able to supply a model ordinance. Yocum
added that the Health Officer?s Association would probably be the one to go to
with this matter. The other problem to
address is; are breeders operating out of a residential area. Leach suggested obtaining some model
ordinances for review at the January work session. Cohen stated that if someone is truly a breeder and sells animals,
that should be a conditional use and certain conditions should be met. The breeder should have a license and
inspections done. Leach added that
right now doggie day care is a business in Jefferson. Cohen said that is another business that should be regulated for
the customers, neighbors and the animals.
Pay to Play Law
Leach explained that effective
January 1, 2006, there are State regulations for political donations from
people that receive contracts from government entities. If the donations are $300 or more to any
elected officials campaign or campaign fund, the contract must be received
through open and competitive bidding, or as it is called fair and
transparent. There is a form that has
to be filled out as part of the bidding process. With the normal professional service contracts that are used for
attorneys, planners, engineers, bond counsel and auditors, the person being
awarded the contract, that has an aggregate of $17,500 or more, will have to
fill out a disclosure form. For example,
if an engineer donated $300 to the republican committee, they can no longer
just be given a professional contract.
The awarding of the contract has to be done in a fair and open manner. Leach explained that they will meet with all
the department heads that get involved with contracts and information will be
sent to the Planning Board and Board of Adjustment. Familiarity and prior experience with the Township can be used as
a qualification. Cohen added that at
election time when petitions are filed, the candidates should receive a copy of
the law. Leach said he will prepare a
bullet point letter of his notes on the law for that purpose. Leach said that there was no election in
Jefferson this year. There is an
exemption for 2006. Eagen is preparing forms
and they will be distributed next week.
Performance Bond: Jefferson Village,
reported that they received a letter from Elam recommending the release of the
Performance Bond for Jefferson Village, Phase 12, dated December 9, 2005. There are several items listed that still
need to be taken care of and they will be incorporated into the remaining
performance bonds. Yocum stated that
Cohen will draw up a Resolution for the December 21 meeting.
Meeting Cancellations After Election Days
Magnotti explained that the
suggestion is to remove the Election meeting dates from the January
schedule. If it is decided that a
meeting is needed at that time, it will be easier to schedule a meeting than to
cancel one. On June 7, there is an
election in town and that is particularly stressful for the Clerk?s Office and
the Council. Sanchelli agreed that on
the Election Day he works from 4:30 a.m. to late into the evening, like the Clerk. Yocum suggested removing the three meeting
dates from the schedule and if work determines they are needed, they can be
Resolution #05-120: Confirming Sale of Municipally Owned
Motion: Merz, second
Pres. Birmingham Absent
Resolution #05-121: Closed Session ? Contract Negotiations,
Motion: Sanchelli, second
Pres. Birmingham Absent
asked if there were any members of the public that would like to come forward
with a question or comment and seeing no one come forward, he closed the public
portion of the meeting.
Council adjourned for Closed Session at 8:39 p.m. and reconvened at 9:03 p.m.
Adjournment at 9:03
Motion: Yocum, second Sanchelli
President Birmingham Absent
Dated: December 14, 2005
Lydia Magnotti, Township Clerk Richard
W. Yocum, Council President